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Security forces kill 6 militants in southern Somalia

Al-Shabaab fighters have staged numerous attacks against civilians and security forces inside Somalia despite a relentless onslaught to vanquish them.

Al Shabaab militants parade new recruits after arriving in Mogadishu, file.   REUTERS/Feisal Omar

The spokesman of security agencies in Jubaland, Sayid Arab told reporters that the operation that led to the death of six Al-Shabaab militants near the port town of Kismayo was successful.

“Our special forces carried out a successful operation at Mugambow location in lower Juba region this morning and killed six high ranking Al-Shabaab militants that were planning vicious attacks against civilians,” said Arab.

He added that the covert operation targeting Al-Shabaab hideouts will intensify in the days ahead.

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NAN recalls that Al-Shabab once controlled much of southern and central Somalia and imposed a harsh form of Islamic law that banned music and led to public amputations for accused thieves.

Government and African Union troops have recaptured most of the territory, but the militants were still able to kill several members of parliament last year, and launch two major assaults on the presidential palace.

The Somali government first offered amnesty to al-Shabab fighters last September, after al-Shabab’s top leader Ahmed Godane was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

Since Godane’s death, al-Shabab’s leaders have been divided, but it has remained a strong fighting force and challenge to the Somali government.

In words directed at the militants , then president Hassan Mohamud said he knows many al-Shabab members joined for “reasons that made sense at the time,” including the need for money, or a sense they were proving themselves to be good Muslims or good Somalis.

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But, he added, “What you did does not have to dictate the rest of your life.”

Mohamud acknowledged some Somalis are uneasy about amnesty for al-Shabab members. He said those who defect go through a process of “supervised rehabilitation” and are monitored by Somali security forces to ensure they continue to reject the militant group.

He asked Somalis to “accept the need for concession and to exercise forgiveness” in order to close “a dark chapter in Somalia’s history.

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